Archive for the ‘slug’ Category

I can’t believe I missed it this year! I have to forgive myself, though, because I did my first triathlon on Sunday and was pretty focused on surviving that challenge. Pity I completely forgot, though, because the race was in a state park and I indeed could have flipped a rock or two.

You should check out Wandering Weeta’s roundup of blog posts about IRFD, as well as the flickr group.

I’m really happy for the folks that found this slug this year! They think it’s a banana slug, which I’m sad to have never seen despite those years of living in Northern California.

(photo by Susan Thomsen)

Now, for a couple of Friday links.

1. It’s easy to find articles about invasive mollusks, or sad endangered species stories, but it’s heartwarming when you find an article about a snail thought to be extinct that isn’t!

2. I love how different fields in science intersect to do cool work, and here’s a story about studying climate– El Nino and La Nina in particular– by looking at fossil bivalves.

3. Lollusk! This one’s a cutie.

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It’s not too glamorous, but hey. When you live in New York City, wildlife that isn’t pigeons, cockroaches, and rats is a welcome sight.

I chaperoned a high school field trip to the wilds of New Jersey in the spring, during which there was lots of rock flipping and rooting around in the wilderness for different kinds of animals. We did pretty well, especially on the arthropod front: crayfish, isopods, centipedes, all sorts of bugs and spiders. On the mollusk front, there was only one find: I turned up a slug!


I love how you can just see its little tentacles there. So cute.
I was thinking of this slug because I am currently reading (for the first time, if you can believe it) Watership Down, and I like that the hedgehogs sing to the moon to make the slugs come out:

O Slug-a-Moon, O Slug-a-Moon,
O grant thy faithful hedgehog’s boon!

I think I’ll sing this to the moon on the eve of International Rock Flipping Day this year, in hopes that I find mollusks and not earwigs.

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Banana slugs!

I love this video. The earnestness of the interviewee is incredibly charming, in addition to the fact that banana slugs are just. so. cool.

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There’s been so many awesome things on the internet this week that I want to share. Linkstravaganza!

First, the other participants in International Rock Flipping Day! It was a great crowd to be in; so many excellent sightings.

Lynda at mainlymongoose
Kordite in the Flickr group
Bill Murphy at Fertanish Chatter
Rebecca In The Woods
Dave Bonta, on Via Negativa. Here and here and on Flickr.
Paul, The Obligate Scientist
Wanderin’ Weeta. Here and on Flickr. Plus one to be posted soon.
Kate St. John on Outside My Window
Ontario Wanderer on Flickr
JayLeigh in Pacific Northwest Nature for Families
Fred Schueler: a Google document, copied here.
Rikaja in Slovakia
Bev Wigney at Journey to the Centre
Hugh, at Rock, Paper, Lizard

Well done, everyone. Thanks for finding the slugs I couldn’t! And a special thanks to Susannah at Wanderin’ Weeta for coordinating the event this year. I will practice over the course of the next year in hopes of great results next time around.

In case you don’t follow the websites with conventionally cute animals, it was Snail Week at Daily Squee! I’m diggin’ the invert love! Check out this ADORABLE baby snail.

Other great things:
1. A fantastic post over at the Spandrel Shop about the sea slugs that feed on algae and then incorporate the plastids into their bodies to become photosynthetic themselves. So cool.

2. Enormous octopus cake made the internet rounds this week. I saw it first on Make.

3. Another fascinating post, this time at Not Exactly Rocket Science, about parasitic worms that take over snail bodies and “drive” them around. Turns out there’s actually a class structure in these worms.

4. You got squid in my broccoli! You got broccoli in my squid! Two great tastes that taste great together.

5. Mollusk sex advice column over at Deep Sea News. Just too delightful.

6. Another snail video from Daily Squee.

7. Also, some of the craziest weather in NYC this week. Tornado! I don’t know if this photo from grapesofrad is ‘shopped or not, but it’s great nonetheless.

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What are you doing this weekend? Flipping a rock, I hope! Sunday is International Rock Flipping Day! Check out the full information over on Wanderin’ Weeta’s awesome blog.

There’s a flickr pool with some pretty great mollusks under rocks.

Slug for International Rock-flipping Day
(photo credit: The MarvelousInNature.wordpress.com)

bottom of a rock
(photo credit: asterbleu)

I’m sure hoping for a slug or snail sighting, something I’ve yet to see here in New York City. An isopod would be great too. Just no earwigs please. ::shudder::

I was looking for rocks on my walk to work this morning, and weirdly enough, I saw zero rocks that I could flip over. I suspect this has something to do with how the part of Central Park that I walk through every day was landscaped. Hopefully in one of the more brambley bits, or maybe in the other park near my house, I can find something.

I did meet a very disgruntled swan, though.

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Introducing the mascot

There was a blog hiatus for about a week just then because I was traveling to stay on a friend’s farm in western Illinois. I went into St. Louis to visit both the zoo and the botanical gardens, in hope of spotting a mollusk, but no such luck. The only mollusk I found on display at the zoo was a leopard slug in the entryway to the insectarium. They had lots of fun critters right there, like pillbugs and centipedes and tarantulas, in addition to our slug friend, to highlight what is and is not an insect. Sadly, the leopard slug was out of view in its little tank, which was a shame, because they are pretty cool looking.

Despite a lack of mollusks, the St. Louis Zoo is great! It was extraordinarily hot and humid, so the animals were about as inactive as can be, but what great animals they have.

Check this out, a sloth in a tire swing!

Also, a hippo getting nibbled by fish!

Pardon the cell phone photos; my real camera refuses to extend its lens, so I’m currently limited in both photographic technology and skill.

At the Botanical Garden, I figured my best mollusk hope would be to see a snail or slug in the wild, but no such luck. I did see Cardinals (didn’t realize their baseball team was so appropriately named!) and probably the biggest frog I’ve ever seen in the wild, but it really was mostly about the plants. Gorgeous, wonderful stuff. I developed a heretofore unknown appreciation for coleus. One of the best things about the garden is their 50 year old geodesic dome with an indoor rainforest, called the Climatron. I will go on record as saying that’s the best retrofuture name of any place I’ve ever been. Here’s a year in its life.

But the point of this post is to introduce the blog mascot! I’m not sure what to name it yet. It’s a glass slug I got in the botanical garden gift store. It was simply too cute to pass up and I’m hoping it can make appearances in various places I go.

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